Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Post For 2011

That's it. There is no more. 2011 is past. Some celebrate its passing. Others celebrate the positives of an unknown future. Regardless, 2011 is history.

At the end of 2011, my hair is a little thinner, grayer and gravity continues its toll on once was my chest. Accept what is. No complaints really. I'm still here to look back. More importantly, I can look forward.

There were a great many moments of personal fascination in 2011 and some times details were posted on this blog.

Wondering what was the most viewed entry for 2011, I checked the Blogger stats. There was no real competitor for Herbie Around The World. Good news is that Zainab and Domi soon will begin the next leg of their journeys as they continue to South America. To follow their journeys, their travels are posted at Herbie's World Tour. Their scheduled travel plans will take them through Tucson. If all goes well, I  hope to meet them as they pass through Tucson so I can wish them a Bon Voyage on their continued Around The World Tour.

And with this last post of 2011.... My wish is for all my readers good health and a life in pursuit of happiness.

In the event any one wonders how I celebrate the arrival of the New Year.... Denver's commercial (1969-1995) classical music station, KVOD, had a long time tradition on New Years Eve to play all of Beethoven's symphonies. That was concluded with the ninth ending close to midnight.

I've continued that tradition with a modification. I end with the ninth closer to ten o'clock.

That and Crown Royal on the Rocks makes for a good way to bring in the New Year.

Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why Save Money

While I was considering the purchase of the iPhone, I happened to recall my visit as a ten year old to the bank with Dad to open a savings account. With bars on the teller window and a bank president on site, it was a different time. Dad was no stranger to the bank as he borrowed as much as the bank would lend. A couple of years later, he was dealing with more than one bank.

When Dad explained to the bank president the reason for the visit with me in tow, we were ushered behind the barricade in front of the bank president's desk. Have no idea how much was deposited in the savings account that was opened. However, I do remember the visits to the bank far into my teenage years to deposit money and have the interest earned recorded -- in a savings passbook.

It was a nostalgic recollection. Interest was actually earned -- or at least recorded as being earned.

Today checking accounts and money market accounts have a paltry interest rate -- if any is actually paid. If interest were paid on the money in the account, there might be some way to stay even with the annual inflation rate.

So for me the obvious conclusion is that they -- the bankers; the economists; the Federal Reserve -- do not want me to save money. They want me to spend the money. A dollar today is worth a dollar. With inflation, tomorrow the dollar will be worth less.

So I might be reconsidering the iPhone purchase. If not the iPhone, I have no doubt there is some other want that will claim those depreciating dollars in my checking account.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Stockings

Already past the stage of believing in Santa at the age of nine or ten, I decided to check out the stocking tradition. Without a fireplace, the next best place to hang the stockings was on the 18 inch high box upon which the Christmas tree stood. Not sure what I expected to appear in the stockings. Perhaps some candy or perhaps a small trinket of some sort.

On Christmas morning, upon coming down stairs, I checked the stockings from a distance to see they didn't have anything in them. Wondering out loud to Mom why there wasn't anything in them, she said we should look closely. So I did. There was a lump at the toe of the sock. A positive outlook wondered if the lump might be some coins. Took the sock and reached far into the toe and pulled out -- a peanut.

That was a disappointment. Guess Mom must have seen our long faces. With a big grin, she allowed that a peanut was better than a lump of coal. Mom was always right. She also had a good sense of humor.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


de·crep·i·tude  Noun. The quality or condition of being weakened, worn out, impaired, or broken down by old age, illness, or hard use.

Decrepitude is an apt definition for this saguaro.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Three Month Stay

Arrived at Justin's Diamond J RV Park yesterday. No time was wasted this morning as I headed out for a hike in the desert immediately behind the RV park. Great that there is lots of hiking without a drive. Going to love this. At least I think I will.

This stay is a test of hitch itch since I plan to stay here for three months. Those three months will be the longest I have stayed at any one place in the past ten years. Wondering if Wandrin Lloyd can handle that.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Smart Phone Shopping

The cell phone was about four years old and the current two year contract was up. Great time to update to the iPhone.

Really was nothing wrong with that Motorola phone. Great little phone. It has a camera. It rings. It works each time I use it. Ear buds or blue tooth. Which I don't use. It has it all. Pretty modern. But. It is not smart.

Headed off to the Verizon store to check out the smart phones. Wow they were pretty nice. The iPhones were the object of my coveting. Since I was already addicted to Apple gadgets, it seemed only natural to add the iPhone to the line up with my investment in iProduct apps.

Happened to be relating my smart phone search to daughter Vanita. She wondered why I would want a smart phone when I had a Mi-Fi card and an iPad (or iPod Touch) with me most times. Knew I had a bright kid there. Probably takes after her mother. Appears she didn't get that gene from me.

Back to the Verizon store. Still coveted that iPhone. Wow. It would be $199 and a two year contract. What other charges would there be was the question of the lovely Verizon rep. On top of the talk minutes, any smart phone has an automatic $30 per month charge. Really. Didn't know that. No matter how much it is used -- if at all. Hmmm.

Daughter Vanita was onto something there. Already have a phone that works. Have an iPad and a Mi-Fi card with me all the time. Save $199 today and $30 a month. Wow. That adds up to a lot of money.

And that is the review of the iPhone. I may have wanted it. But I didn't need it. Perhaps I am smarter than a smart phone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rainy Weather

Long pants and an umbrella was the attire for yesterday. The weather service reported over an inch of rain. Not bad considering the average yearly rainfall for Yuma is about three inches.

Much of that green in the grocers' produce aisle comes from California's Imperial Valley and the area around Yuma. Colorado River water makes it all possible. And an occasional heavy rain.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beyond The Information Age

"When was the last time a company went public in the U.S. that actually manufactured a good? When was the last time a "hot" company went public selling a service that had nothing to do with marketing and that actually performed a valuable function?" -- Quote from post at Of Two Minds

About 25 years ago, I was having lunch with Joe -- a long time friend. As a long time student and investor in the stock markets, his comments of that day have not been forgotten.

Paraphrasing Joe's comments: It can't be a good thing for an economy when the US industry stops manufacturing a tangible product. Raw materials were exported to other countries to make a physical product which was imported to sell to the US consumer. The new product for US industry was the creation and selling of information. Not a product with a function.

That interchange 25 years ago was recalled as I read today's post at Of Two Minds where now the product to be sold is "social media." That is essentially nothing. Not a physical product. Not even information.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Book: Bad Dog

Bad Dog by Martin Kihn. With a subtitle in parenthesis -- a love story.

On top of his alcohol addiction, Martin Kihn gets a puppy who turns into a big untrained dog. The scary moments begin and his wife Gloria leaves. That was when the work began. Martin begins with alcohol recovery while working to train Hola (dog's name) to meet the highest of AKC's training standards. The goal is to prove to Gloria that she should return to the family.

How to train a dog. It takes lots of time to train the five year old dog while training the owner at the same time. Kihn succeeds in the last scene of the book as Gloria returns to see a well trained Hola and a recovering alcoholic.

This love story is funny and poignant. Hard to put down.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Book: Deep Survival

A book by Laurence Gonzales and subtitled Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why

With first rate research, interviews with survivors -- including his father's WWII experience, interviews with psychologists and personal experiences, Gonzales writes at times a very personal book about the stories of survivors. He describes in detail those persons who survive and those who die under the same circumstances. Separating emotion from the life threatening situation, accepting the reality, actively working to survive with intellect will be a major determinant for survival. Throw in some humor and you've got a pretty good chance to make it back to tell the story.

Quote from the last chapter of the author's book: "The perfect adventure shouldn't be that much more hazardous in a real sense than ordinary life, for that invisible rope that holds us here can always break. We can live a life of bored caution and die of cancer. Better to take the adventure, minimize the risks, get the information, and then go forward in the knowledge that we've done everything we can."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Adapting To Cold

The low last evening was 28 degrees. Fortunately, it is warmer inside Wandrin Wagon where I sleep. No plans to test my survival skills as long as I can afford propane.

That overnight low was the coldest over these past days. Most nights, the low temp was in the mid thirties. Cold enough. The daily highs are a comfortable low to mid sixties.

Recent local temperatures have been about ten degrees colder than average. However, since I am living in actual temperatures rather than historic averages, I have resorted to wearing long pants. Not all the time, but that is the start to most days. However, before heading out on a daily explore, a clothing change is made to shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. Wandrin Lloyd has an image to maintain.

A positive is required to deal with this cold weather. In less than two weeks, Wandrin Lloyd will be in Tucson for a three month stay. With Tucson's slightly colder temperatures, these recent temperatures are allowing my adaptation to the colder temperatures. Maybe.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'm With Scrooge

It is that time of year when XM radio decides that its listeners have been waiting all year so they can listen to Christmas themed music 24 hours a day. It may not be on all channels, but the Classical Pops is one of those that started yesterday. Why couldn't they mix it up. An occasional Christmas themed selection throughout the programming day would be great. 24 hours a day is too much. The good thing is that I can enjoy quiet. Turn off the noise.

A couple of days ago, Home Depot was the destination for wood slats for a project at Wandrin Wagon. Like every other retail store during November and December there is a whole section of Christmas decorations. Not only is there a large section of this stuff, the holiday decorations are throughout the store with what appeared to be directions how you can buy the materials to make the tacky kitchy item at home.

Who buys all that Christmas decoration stuff. Where do they store it. The answer: those storage units that are being built everywhere.

The only place during the Christmas season where I must shop is the grocery store. My stress level begins at the front door with the bell ringer. Inside the Christmas decorations abound. Of course over the PA system, some low budget Christmas music is broadcast and interrupted by "clean up on aisle 9".

Time to stop before I start off on a tirade about the 150 million people who shopped over the Thanksgiving weekend. All I can say is that some of those people vote. It's scarey.

Counting the days until this is over. Bah. Humbug.

And while I am on a rant. The very rare occasion to go inside a bank is to deposit a check or purchase dollar coins. The latest visit found a TV on the wall behind the teller windows. No doubt this is something the customers have been begging for. The CNN news was muted with the scrolled words for the hearing impaired. Looked around. There wasn't a single person in the bank looking at the TV. That included the three in line with me. One had ear buds and was concentrating on a cell phone.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


On my way to San Diego from Palm Springs, I stopped in to visit several road acquaintances who now have lots at the Jojoba Hills Escapee RV Park. That includes Brian -- my personal chef. Well. He is my personal chef when we happen to traveling in the same neighborhoods.

During my week long visit, Brian and other Jojoba Hills acquaintances were merciless in their touting the positives of their park. It would be easy to put my name on the list and -- probably -- in a year I would have a lot at Jojoba Hills. As I exited the park, I stopped at the office to get the paper work for placing my name on their list.

Jojoba Hills is located about a 20 minute drive east of Temecula. Extensive shopping alternatives and medical facilities abound in Temecula and nearby Murrieta. Local exploring includes wineries, hiking, and tourist attractions in Temecula or Julian. Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley is just over the mountains to the north. A San Diego visit to Vanita's house would be about 80 miles away. All positives for a lot at Jojoba Hills.

Now that I have been on the road for ten years, it seems attractive -- in the academic sense -- to stop for seven to eight winter months. However, the prospect actually scares me. In these past years, the longest I have stayed in any one RV park was for two months. A longer test is coming up when I head to Tucson in mid December. The reservation is for three months at which point the Wandrin travels will begin for 2012.

There are many places to consider for that extended winter stay. Jojoba Hills is just one of the several possibilities. Now there is something else to keep me awake at night.